The first chapter of Project RISHI was set up at UCLA in 2005. Since then Project RISHI chapters have sprung up UC Berkeley, UC San Diego, UC Davis, UC Irvine, and Northwestern University. The UCSD chapter of Project RISHI was founded in September 2009 by UCSD Alumni Nikhil Nadkarni ('11). We work in the rural village of Anandwan set up by Baba Amte in Maharashtra. Since our inception we have had four official trips to India during the summers of 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2015.
The shortage and cleanliness of water has always been a problem in rural parts of India. In Anandwan, 400 children only had the option to drink water from the river that contained hot and dirty water. So in 2014, we implemented a water purification system that cools and stores water in a tank, providing clean water inside the schools for several hundred blind and deaf children.
In order to decrease the intolerance in India surrounding physical ailments, Project RISHI wants to work with the village school to set up higher awareness for disabled children. In India, many families severely underestimate the capabilities of their children and it is heartbreaking to see how children are ostracized because of a disability out of their control. Our goal is to foster parental involvement and to develop a multimedia scrapbook of artwork and writing from the blind and deaf school in Anandwan.
This music and dance troupe of Anandwan is made up of disabled residents and leprosy patients. It increases the physical, mental, and emotional health of both its performers and audience through the concept of therapeutic theater. We aim to create an online media channel for them, help subsidize travel and equipment costs for the orchestra to perform internationally, and set them up with a sister orchestra in the United States. In the summer of 2012, UCSD's Project RISHI donated $7000 to their cause.
We provide disabled children with the basic health care that they lack, with the guidance of professional doctors. UCSD students have the unique opportunity of participating in hands-on, clinical practice. We are also working on creating a resource center for children that would help sustain any educational lessons taught during our trip.
In 2011, Project RISHI was awarded the UCSD Organization of the Year from the UCSD Alumni Association. UCSD Project RISHI students have also attended the prestigious Clinton Global Initiative University conferences in 2011 - 2014 gaining acceptance to these conferences based on our projects (known as commitments at the conference). This conference provides a great opportuntity for UCSD Project RISHI members to meet other motivated college students like themselves, learn about different types of commitments, network with people interested in similar work, and hear luminaries in their respective fields speak about all aspects of philanthropy.
Check out some of our images from over the years here.